The NSW Waratahs have run out convincing winners over the Queensland Reds at the SCG, reclaiming the Bob Templeton Cup and setting up an exciting run to the end of the regular Super Rugby AU season.
Rob Penney’s side elevated themselves to third on the ladder through for-and-against after putting 45 unanswered points on their northern rivals.
A couple of late tries to the Reds saved fixture records being broken, after some torrid conditions hit the SCG mid-way through the match.
Jake Gordon’s return to the starting side was a fruitful one, with the pacey playmaker scoring a first half hat-trick off the back of some entertaining play from the Waratahs.
James Ramm proved damaging on the left edge, opening things up early to almost put the Waratahs in during the opening exchanges. It would prove a telling sign for the rest of the night, with the young winger playing a hand in stretching the home side’s advantage early on.
It was an in-and-away, a chip-and-chase and a short ball from Ramm to Karmichael Hunt that secured the Waratahs their first, with Gordon looming in support to finish off an entertaining piece of attack.
Gordon would have his second just minutes later, with a cheeky quick tap from close range catching the Reds defence napping – seeing the home side quickly establish a 17-point lead in the opening quarter of the match.
Jack Dempsey and Jack Maddocks combined for the Waratahs next, with the fullback sliding over before Jake Gordon completed his first half hat-trick just minutes later.
Alex Newsome put in a spectacular effort for the Waratahs fifth of the night, getting aerial to beat Daugunu in the corner.
Will Harrison maintained a perfect night with the boot – continuing an unblemished record at the SCG – in what was another composed performance from the young flyhalf.
The quick start from the Waratahs took the wind out of the Reds sails, but tempers flared after the break with several altercations that reflected what was a spicy contest in Round 1 of the competition.
Tom Horton scored his second professional try off the back of a rolling maul and but a full stop on what was already an unassailable lead for the Waratahs.
Match Centre: click here
NSW Waratahs: (1-15) Tom Robertson, Tom Horton, Harry Johnson-Holmes, Ned Hanigan, Tom Staniforth, Lachlan Swinton, Michael Hooper (c), Jack Dempsey, Jake Gordon, Will Harrison, Alex Newsome (vc), Karmichael Hunt, Lalakai Foketi, James Ramm, Jack Maddocks
Reserves: (16-23) Andrew Tuala, Angus Bell, Tetera Faulkner, Jed Holloway, Hugh Sinclair, Mitch Short, Joey Walton, Ben Donaldson
Tries: J. Gordon 10, J. Gordon 17, J. Maddocks 24, J. Gordon 27, A. Newsome 35, T. Horton 52
Conversions: W. Harrison 11, 18, 25, 29, 36. B. Donaldson 53
Penalties: W. Harrison 5
Reds: (1-15) Dane Zander, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, Taniela Tupou, Angus Blyth, Lukhan Salakaia-Loto, Angus Scott-Young, Liam Wright, Harry Wilson, Scott Malolua, James O'Connor, Filipo Daugunu, Hamish Stewart, Hunter Paisami, Jock Campbell, Bryce Hegarty
Reserves: (16-23) Alex Mafi, Jack Straker, Zane Nonggorr, Tuaina Taii Tualima, Fraser McReight, Tate McDermott, Jack Hardy, Josh Flook
Tries: J. Hardy 54, J. O'Connor 80
Conversions: J. O'Connor 80
Referee: Damon Murphy
Assistant 1: Amy Perrett
Assistant 2: Jordan Way
TMO: George Ayoub
From the press conference:
“I’m just really proud of the boys, the preparation all week has been good. We had the confidence in the first half and the ball was quite useable to back our attack and some individuals really stepped up,” Rob Penney said.
“Very happy with that. We got off to a hot start and kept the foot on the throat. The set-piece was good, our ball movement was good, so really pleased,” Michael Hooper said.
“Our defence has improved out of sight in the past couple of weeks. It was a full squad effort to get that result.”